News Brief

Study Predicts 40% Less Driving in LEED Neighborhoods

Using a new modeling tool, researchers predicted vehicle miles traveled would decrease 40%–76% in LEED-ND certified areas.

Density vs. Vehicle Travel for U.S.

Per capita vehicle travel tends to decrease with increases in density.

Source: Todd Litman, VTPI

Researchers developed a new predictive model to estimate vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per person in six U.S. regions, validating their model against actual VMT in the same neighborhoods, as catalogued in the National Household Travel Survey released periodically by the U.S. Department of Federal Highway Administration.

They then used the new methodology to predict VMT in twelve neighborhoods certified through the LEED-ND program and compared their estimates with driving data in non-LEED neighborhoods in the same metropolitan areas. Predicted VMT in the LEED neighborhoods was 40%–76% less than VMT in conventional developments.

These results follow naturally from LEED-ND’s focus on urban infill, density, and walkable streets, argues Kaid Benfield, director of sustainable communities at the Natural Resources Defense Council, which helped develop the rating system. He adds that the dense development encouraged by the program doesn’t eliminate driving but rather limits the longest average driving trip to five miles or less.

According to the study, denser and more urban LEED-ND projects were estimated to have the highest transit use and the shortest vehicle trip lengths.

For more information:

Natural Resources Defense Council

switchboard.nrdc.org

 

Published June 27, 2013

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